A DUI can be a terrifying, life-changing experience. In fact, many people who are arrested for driving under the influence are good, law-abiding citizens who’ve never been involved with the criminal justice system in the past.
You may be feeling ashamed, embarrassed, frightened and worried about the future, especially if you need to drive in order to get to work and provide or care for yourself and your family. And that says nothing of the fines, the elevated insurance premiums, and the potential for jail time!
Many are dismayed by their arrest, as they had no idea they had a blood alcohol concentration that would be sufficiently high to serve as grounds for arrest, while others haven’t consumed any alcohol at all. While most believe that the term “DUI” and “drunk driving” are interchangeable, the reality is that a DUI arrest can involve other substances, including illicit drugs and even prescription medications – including prescriptions that were taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, the Tacoma DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold, LLC are ready to assist. We strive to defend your case and minimize the adverse impact from this difficult experience. We defend all types of DUI cases, including those that involve additional criminal charges, such as drug possession charges, resisting arrest, hit and run, vehicular homicide and beyond. Our criminal defense and DUI attorneys handle all misdemeanor and felony cases.
The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold, LLC is here to help if you’re facing DUI charges in Tacoma or the surrounding region, including King County, Pierce County or Snohomish County. Contact The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold, LLC to schedule a fully confidential case consultation by calling 206-382-9200.
Addressing Your Questions and Concerns Following a Tacoma DUI
Defense attorneys receive lots of questions from clients, as many have never been involved with the legal process before. But even those who have prior involvements can have lots of different concerns and questions. We believe that it’s important to address these issues with our clients, as the uncertainty and imagined consequences are often worse than the reality of your situation and the actual possible consequences.
Our legal team has compiled answers to a few of the most common concerns and questions stemming from a DUI in Tacoma or another area of Washington State.
What is the Legal Limit for Drinking and Driving in the State of Washington?
In Washington, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08%, which is calculated based upon a breath sample of 210 liters of breath.
There are some cases where the limit is lower. This is true for drivers who are under the age of 21. Underage drivers must adhere to a legal limit of .02%. Commercial drivers also have a lower limit, as they must adhere to a limit of .04%.
Washington has per se DUI laws, meaning that the actual level of impairment does not mitigate the BAC. This means that anyone who exceeds the BAC limit may be arrested, regardless of their level of impairment, which is evaluated using field sobriety tests.
If a driver is found to have an “excessive” BAC of .15% or greater, he/she may be subject to more serious penalties.
Of course, BAC only applies to alcohol. There are different tests available for drugs (illicit and prescription.)
Is it Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana in Washington State?
Just like alcohol, there are limits for driving after smoking marijuana, which is currently legal in Washington.
Chemical tests are administered, and a driver may be subject to arrest for DUI if their THC level exceeds 5 nanograms per 1 milliliter of blood.
What Happens if I Refuse a Chemical Test?
The penalty for refusing a chemical test can include a two-year license suspension, a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 364 days in jail.
If you refused a chemical test after a DUI stop, you will need an experienced attorney who can work hard to minimize the impact of your refusal.
What Are the Possible DUI Penalties?
Understandably, many clients have questions and concerns about the possible penalties for a DUI. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer since each case is unique and as such, the potential penalties vary dramatically. For example, a first-time offender with a .08% BAC will be subject to less serious penalties compared to a driver with multiple DUI convictions or other aggravating factors, such as being underage or having a young child in the vehicle.
In Washington, the DUI penalties can include monetary fines, mandatory program enrollment, probation, license suspension or revocation and in some cases, jail time. Our attorneys can provide you with a more realistic view of the possible penalties after learning more about your exact case circumstances.
I Was Arrested for DUI After Taking My Prescription. How is This Possible?
Washington laws do allow police to arrest a driver who has taken prescription drugs that are known to impair driving abilities. This can even occur in cases where the medication was taken precisely as directed by a physician. Senior citizens and chronically-ill individuals tend to be at the highest risk of this type of arrest.
If an officer believes the driver could have taken a substance that impairs their driving ability, this can serve as grounds for arrest. But the fact that your case involved a prescription medication (especially if it was taken exactly as prescribed) can serve as a mitigating factor in your case.
Will I Definitely Lose My License After a DUI?
A DUI conviction can lead to a license suspension of 90 days to four years. While there is a chance you may lose your driving privileges after a DUI in Washington, this is not always the case. Our Tacoma DUI attorneys will work hard in our efforts to help you maintain your driving privileges.
One step involves going before The Department of Licensing (DOL) to request an administrative hearing. The DOL oversees your license and any penalties involving your license status, also called administrative penalties.
Typically, a license suspension goes into effect 60 days after your arrest. But if you act quickly, you can request a DOL administrative hearing. The DOL charges a non-refundable $375 fee to request an administrative hearing, but it is possible to seek a fee waiver.
Your DOL hearing provides your defense lawyer with a chance to provide information on the facts in your case in an attempt to clear you of any wrong-doing in the eyes of the DOL. Our experienced attorneys have been able to help numerous clients retain their driving privileges.
You can also seek a restricted driver’s license if the hearing does not conclude in your favor. Sometimes called an ignition interlock driver’s license, drivers must install and utilize an ignition interlock device which administers BAC testing before allowing the driver to operate the vehicle. If you secure an ignition interlock license, you will be required to get SR-22 insurance too. There are also fees for the installation, rental, and maintenance of the ignition interlock device.
Hire a Top Tacoma DUI Attorney for DUI Defense Services
A DUI isn’t just embarrassing; it can also impact your career, your finances and your ability to care for yourself and your family. Individuals who are accused of DUI face the possible loss of their driving privileges, fines and even jail time. The effects can be far-reaching, impacting nearly every aspect of your life.
It’s critical that you trust your case to an experienced Tacoma DUI lawyer who can develop a strategic defense strategy that will maximize your chances of favorable conclusion to your case. Our team is committed to helping you put this challenging experience in the past so you can focus on a brighter, better future.
The DUI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold, LLC are ready to discuss your case in a confidential consultation session. Call 206-382-9200.
Going through the court system can be so confusing and maddening. I don't know what would have happened if I had another lawyer. Kevin was always available to answer my questions, no matter how paranoid or irrational. He truly cares and is the best in Seattle.